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Six weeks in Darjeeling – The Wrap Up.

Darjeeling, India – I love it.

From the steep, twisting streets of the town to the momentous mountain views, friendly locals, top food and fresh climate. By “fresh” I’m referring to it being cold which to be honest, caught me a little bit off guard at first. I mean it’s India it ain’t supposed to be cold but then it dawned on me, with all the Tea farming I should have expected it to be cold. I remember years ago I stayed in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia and it was the same. Perfect for tea plantations, cold and wet and at high altitudes.

Below you can see my whole Darjeeling trip condensed into one video packed full of goodness. From my bumpy jeep journey up through the mountains from Siliguri to Kurseong Railway station, a trip on the famous Toy Train along the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway through to a tour of the local town and it’s surrounding areas. All mixed in with a few of my interesting little insights along the way.


cant’ see the video ? click here.

Like a fool I of course turned up in Darjeeling in pretty much in shorts and t-shirt and had to resort to wearing almost everything I had with me. Even though it was very cold it was quite refreshing for me as I’ve been living in hot climates for the last few years and I fell in love with Darjeeling within days and decided to stay a while. One of the first things that first hit me about Darjeeling (apart from the cold) was how much it didn’t feel like India. With not so many Indian-looking people and structures around it felt more like China or Nepal. As I learned more about the interesting history of Darjeeling from the locals it all made sense.

My Home

A major factor in me loving Darjeeling had a lot to do with the excellent place I was staying at, The Revolver Lodge is a funky little ‘Beatles themed’ place with most importantly free wifi that is pretty solid (essential for a digital nomad such as myself), stylish rooms, electric blanket bed warmers for those chilly nights, satellite Tv, books DVDs and attracting real interesting travelers

cant’ see the video ? click here.

I had phoned this place whilst on the train on the way to Darjeeling and when I arrived I was majorly impressed by the whole vibe they had going on at this stylish little lodge. Looked at the rooms and thought “Yes- this will do at least for my first night or two”. Six weeks later I was still there. Met some great people, saw some amazing sights and had a real chilled (literally) relaxing time.

A Day in The Life Of

An average top day for me rolled out something like this:

6am Up bright and early, mountain view walk to this tiny little local shop for a big cup of strong black Darjeeling tea.

7am work online for a few hours. using the good WiFi with my USB dongle as backup.

10am Breakfast at a local vegetarian restaurant- my favorite, Baked Beans on Toast topped with Cheese.

11am Back to Revolver for an hour or two blast on the Playstation3 -working my way thru a fantastic Sci-Fi first-person-shooter, chipping away at it thru to it’s completion a little bit each day.

1pm Work online for a couple of hours –by using some ninja productivity tricks I can get 4-5 hours work done in 2 hours.

2-3pm Lunch at Glenery’s Restaurant – too many amazing dishes to mention but I did become addicted to their roast chicken with roasted veg. Washed down with a chocolate brownie and ice cream covered in hot chocolate sauce. Burp.

4pm Back to my room at revolver for a bit of TV and maybe a cheeky afternoon siesta to sleep off my big lunch.

6-7pm shower and out for an evening meal – Indian or Chinese and quite often Italian. I found this awesome place that did fantastic pizza and pasta called “The Hot Pizza Place”, couldn’t keep myself away from there.

9pm back to revolver to work online as the US is starting to wake up.

11.45pm Midnight movie (and flick on that electric blanket for a toasty hot bed) – crash out for the night.

All Good

Pretty simple but a great little routine where I got tons of work done and at the same time had a real chilled out lifestyle that I changed up a lot and really got into. :)

Let me know in the comments below if you think Darjeeling appeals to you. Or if you have been there before, how did you rate it ?

And Then It Turned Bad

All round, I really, really liked Darjeeling and my stay at Revolver – THEN my whole India trip suddenly started to go seriously pear shaped and then got worse and led to me leaving India and having some life threatening and scariest, maddest few weeks I’ve had for a long, long time. :(   Find out all about that in my next post….

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posted by admin in Adventure,Location Independent,Travelling,remote working and have View Comments

Milt’s Brain Twister – Would you eat BBQ Dog ?

A question that I have often raised over the years is whether the whole culture of eating dog is wrong or not. Myself, being a big dog lover, this has always spun me out and I have though long and hard about this brain twisting question.
I first saw this in an extreme way by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time when passing through a tiny village in the rural China in 2003. I saw a dog being hung in a tree and killed then dragged off to presumably the kitchen. When I first saw this poor dog struggling with a rope around his neck I was seriously considering whipping out my little penknife and running over and cutting the rope to set this guy free. I thought quickly about it and choose to not do as I am a visitor in their country and it is was not my place to interfere.
In the video below I am in the town of Savanaket in Laos and I am putting to you the simple question of-
Is eating dog wrong ?
Follow me on this mini adventure as I hunt for a dog BBQ restaurant and most importantly watch to the very end of the video to find out my disturbing angle on this deep question.


Can’t view the video ? click here to view directly on youtube

So, the million dollar question, Would you eat dog ?  Is eating dog wrong ?

What’s your angle on all this ?  Comments Below.

posted by admin in Adventure,Travelling and have View Comments

From Hell and Back to Ultimate Freedom.

Today I am writing this from a beautiful mountain view home in a peaceful, spacious area in the countryside of Thailand. I have been pretty much full time traveling and adventuring around the world for almost a decade now and right now I am having some of the greatest years of my life. But the story of how I ended up here started a long time ago with some unbelievable tragedy and bad luck.

This is actually something that I’m very uncomfortable talking about but I feel this urge that I need to put this out there as it is an essential part of my story and how I got to where I am today. I actually started to write this article months ago but was to scared to publish it.  So here we go…

The once in a lifetime experience of that was the start of my best years.

On December 27th 2002 I set off on a one year around the world adventure. This is something that I had always wanted to do but it had taken be having two years of the most terrible repetitive bad luck to give me the push to make that jump and do it. I believe that if I had not had these years serious bad luck and tragedy, I may have never bought that ticket that led to nearly a decade of world traveling adventures living an amazing happy life.

I have always wondered, “Does life have to be really so shit before it can be really amazing ?”

Two Years of Repetitive Bad Luck.

So in the couple of years before my round the world trip I had some of the worst luck that I’ve ever had in all my life, all condensed back to back over the space of a couple of years. I had my designer furniture business collapse twice through no fault of my own, I started having regular epileptic seizures, went through a bad break up of a long term relationship, lost use of my right arm for six months after a drunken falling through a window, all connected together by a whole load of other bad stuff filling in the gaps.

Watching my Business burn to the ground

I had built this great little business from scratch since 1998, designing and producing fantastic hand made furniture, mirror frames and resin-cast ornaments and sculptures. Then one day early 2001 I woke up to a phone call that my business was on fire. I got there as quick as I could and there was nothing I could do but to watch in front of my eyes as this freak fire burnt through my workshops which were full of highly flammable chemicals and materials. I lost all the manufacturing processes, materials, stock and machinery. With no insurance, I lost everything.

So I bravely picked myself up and started again. I worked day and night to build this business to be even better than it was before. I did several high end exhibitions across the UK and was hugely successful in collecting loads of orders which would rebuild my business again. I had a great little team of guys building this stuff and we were sending out huge volumes of product out to customers across the UK by courier.

My best friend gets a dose of my bad luck.

Helping me rebuild my business during the summer of 2001, one of my very best friends who I met at art collage several years earlier was helping me complete a batch of orders for mirror frames.  Using a router table set up, basically a table with a hole in the middle with a high speed super powerful cutter sticking out which you have to push wood attached to templates through. These machines have no mercy and unfortunately he got one of his fingers tangled in the machine that ripped it to shreds, cutting it to the bone.  This guy was an up and coming artist at the time and this 2 second accident had but a real dent in his future. I felt so guilty about this for a long, long time.

Luckily I can say that he determinedly bounced back from the accident and right now, today is a highly successful artist with his paintings in many respected galleries around the world and we are still the best of friends.

My birthday –  September 11th 2001.

Yes, that terrible day of 9-11 and the twin towers attack. That was my birthday. And as everyone remembers where they were that awful day when the live pictures were shown on the news around the world. I remember sitting there watching this stuff on TV on my birthday and looking back at my recent life and thinking, “what is the state of this world ? This world is terrible, my life is terrible”.

The Courier Company Cowboys

In late 2001 I displayed my wares at one of the biggest furniture exhibitions in the UK. Hugely successful taking tons of orders that we then had to make and be delivered by my courier in time for Christmas all over the UK. Turns out that this courier company that I was using were absolute monkeys ! On me sending out over $20,000 worth of products split between 150 different orders with different delivery addresses across the UK, this courier company had somehow managed to lose or break over 70% of the consignments.

The whole job suddenly became a customer support nightmare. I was having to deal with non-stop complaints from customers who had not received or had to send back their broken items. We had to make all that 70% again and use a different courier and I worked my way through every order to get it right. Miraculously I managed to get every order rectified and delivered in time for Christmas.

Then comes the bill for the courier, they will refund at cost price value of the items lost and broken (in theory), but the catch is “that no insurance claim will be considered until full receipt for carriage has been received.” Long story short, early 2002 I had to go to court with them, and by the time we got to court the courier company had almost gone out of business (they we’re real cowboys). I stupidly defended myself (because my cheap useless lawyer never turned up to court) and the courier company brought out liars/lawyers like the mafia. Total mess, nobody won, we both came away with nothing.

The Doctor’s Verdict.

Most probably stress related I also started getting sudden loss of consciousness and going into epileptic seizures. I started drinking quite heavily and started to lose the plot a little bit. Followed then by loosing my girlfriend of 5 years, which screwed me up even further.

Then the next blow was when on a visit to the doctor he pretty much said that I could no longer continue my business with my epilepsy continually getting worse. I was working around some extremely vicious woodworking machines that seriously do not mix with my occasional no warning sudden loss of consciousness. Simply put, if I was to continue this hand made designer furniture business and was one day walking around the workshop and had an epileptic fit and fell into one of these machines it would have turned out very messy, guaranteed.

Drunkenness and the Glass Window

So I was in a real mess, and the best idea I could come up with was to hit the bottle even harder. Now people who know me well, know that when I go into party mode like this I am pretty wild. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t fun, I had a great few months blow out, I had some fantastic nights out, all night parties, and waking up in some of the most weird places. I could probably write a whole book just about those few months and the mischief I got myself into (even though I can honestly only remember less than half of it because I was so wasted).

So after a few months of partying my bad luck hadn’t been around for a while and I was to drunk to even care or notice. Until, one drunken night ,coming home with a friend for late night extra drinks I fell thru a glass window and serious lacerated my forearm and wrist, blood squirting everywhere (so I was told, as I was so drunk I can barley remember). Next day after, feeling very light headed I was visiting my mum and was showing her the result of my little accident, how I can’t move or feel my fingers. Much to my disagreement she managed to convince me that I had to go to hospital immediately and get it checked out. Turns out it was very serious, I’d managed to slice the tendons in my arm losing the use of my thumb and two fingers on my right hand. It needed operating on and will take six months recovery minimum.

Head Screwed

So now I’m an artist (right-handed) who gets drunk a lot and have lost total use of my right hand for minimum six months. The thoughts going though my head that I will never be able to draw or sculpt anything again.

So what did I do ? Go and get drunk some more and throw a few soft drugs into the mix. And with the stress of not dealing with the problems of my business that I was having to now refuse orders and close my business that was leading me to have more epileptic seizures.

Dealing with Epilepsy

Epileptic Fits, seizures what ever you want to call them, they really do suck. I can tell you from my experience that it is the most horrible feeling waking up after one of these fits. First you feel so disorientated, not knowing where you are, who you are, totally confused. Then someone (who was lucky/unlucky enough to have been around me when it happened), sometimes a friend, sometimes a stranger, tells me that I have just had a seizure and I instantly feel the most extreme sadness. Like I am am useless and not in control. I usually then need a day or two of sleep to get my energy back.

Having epilepsy sucks and (with my arm in a sling still repairing from the going through the window incident), no girlfriend, no business, I got more drunk and I guess I wanted to feel sorry for myself.

If anyone reading this was around me at this time I need also to apologize because looking back I must admit that I actually became a real asshole also. I was becoming so screwed up.

The feeling sorry for myself about having epilepsy stopped immediately when I started to research everything about epilepsy. What I discovered was that no matter how bad I thought my epilepsy was, it was nothing compared to some people who suffered from really bad epilepsy.

I was only having these seizures a couple of times a week at the very most and monthly when it calmed down. I discovered that there is a lot people who suffer from serious epilepsy having multiple seizures every hour every day. They have to wear protective head wear 24-7 and have to have someone around them at all times. This woke me up big time. It made me stop feeling sorry for myself and realize that I was actually really lucky to have this epilepsy in it’s mildest form. I believe that this moment of clarity about my condition was the first ingredient of the catalyst that lead me to the amazing (free of epilepsy) life that I am living today.

I’m not sure exactly when but sometime in the next few weeks while thinking deeply about everything I had the second ingredient that led me to where I am today. That was the moment where I thought about the idea of the reality of this round the world trip that I had always dreamed about. I researched as much as I could and was thinking but what about my epilepsy ? But what about my business, what about my friends and family ? What about the international the threat of terror attacks ?

The actual exact moment when I decided to do it started with a, (please excuse my French) “Fuck It !”. (as nearly all of my most exciting experiences ever have started with me uttering those same two words)

Thoughts of Death

Well, I had no business, no lady, my life was in a mess and I not only needed but I dam well deserved a break. But epilepsy and traveling around the world alone was probably dangerous.

I figured that my epilepsy was no way as bad as some people who have suffer from this condition and if I was going to die from some freak accident from having a seizure, falling down and fatally banging my head on something, I would like it to (and I believed that my friends and family would be a whole lot more proud of me) be from falling off a mountain in Nepal or somewhere awesome like that but, defiantly not whilst sitting at home watching daytime TV because I’m unable to work because of my epilepsy.

The Magic Ticket Purchase

My whole frame of mind had changed almost overnight. So in late 2002 I bought the round the world ticket and had a few months to sell all my stuff and work and save and get prepared for my journey of a lifetime.

In these months leading up to setting off on my round the world adventure I was feeling like no one could stop me and the adrenalin mixed with fear of the journey ahead of me, I was totally back on form, focused and feeling great.

So that magic ingredient that was the catalyst for what turned out to be a decade of amazing adventures and experiences was I believe the day I actually purchased that ticket. From the day I got the ticket I had so much motivation that it was no problem for me to sort myself out and everything just fell into place naturally from there. Getting prepared to go, going, doing it, was the easy part, for me it was the committing to actually just buying the ticket. My drinking calmed down and in turn my epilepsy pretty much nearly stopped. Sometimes I think back to that day and wonder if I had not bought that ticket at that time my life, it may have turned out totally different. Who Knows ?

So what is the moral of this story ? To be honest, I really don’t know.

But I have often said since then my quote that I either made up or picked up from some where.

“Life IS a roller coaster. It’s all about enjoying the highs and grit your teeth through the lows.”

If your life is good right now, enjoy and take a moment to appreciate it.

If your life is shit right now, grit your teeth and plow through it because there IS great stuff to come.

:)

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Digital Nomad Cribs – Location Independent House Sitting.

Take a quick tour of this fantastic place which is temporarily my home in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I am actually house sitting for a good friend of mine who is currently in South America. I have done a bit of house sitting a few years ago but this place is just amazing. In such a quite, peaceful spaceous area surrounded by small mountains.

In this video I give you a quick spin through the local village and a tour of this awesome property where I am staying at the moment.   Enjoy…

I have not personally used these sites but I have heard that you can find great houses that need a house sitter dotted around the world, heres a bunch of them.

I got this house sitting gig by word of mouth and just happening to be in the right place at the right time. I was looking for a place and they were looking for someone trust worthy to take care of this beautiful property with mountains in the back yard.

I jumped at the opportunity and am currently staying here with my girlfriend keeping the place maintained and nice for occasional potential to look round. This is the perfect place for me at the moment where I can focus on my various online projects. I call this mode I am in at the moment ‘productive recluse concentration’, just a funky name for getting my head down and putting the hours in whilst in a totally relaxing environment with minimal distractions. It’s nothing new, people have been doing it for years where they hide themselves away for a period of time to focus on writing a book or painting or whatever.

I admittedly be a little sad when it is eventually sold and I have to move on but that will be cancelled out because I will be glad for the owner who can’t wait to sell this place.

I’m not sure where I’ll be going next, thinking maybe a beach area and I should be popping home to the uk sometime soon also. No big plans, I just roll with it and right now am enjoying the moment and especially enjoying the masses of space and nature around me.

posted by admin in Adventure,Location Independent,Productivity and have View Comments

The 3 Step Guide To Becoming a Tech Nomad Ninja.

IRIS XV • learning to fly

Rocking the Tech Nomad Lifestyle is not an easy life, but I think it is actually easier than becoming a Tech Nomad. I held back for years and never really understood where I was going with it when I actually made the jump back in 2002. Back then the words, Tech Nomad, Lifestyle Design, Digital Nomad, Location Independent and all these terms did simply not exist yet. I was simply referred to as a Traveller or Backpacker and all the life hacks, wisdom and travel tricks would be learned from fellow travellers, vagabonds and other awesome people that I would meet along the way.
Right now today, it is a thousands of times  due to the internet, all the info you ever need is  all there and accessible from anywhere.  I am by no way an expert as this modern digital travelling entrepreneur lifestyle but I am rocking it my way and learning as I go.
I’ve broken down the process of becoming a Tech Nomad Ninja into three simple steps.

Step 1. Get it.

First step is to simply understand this lifestyle. I’m not going to explain it right now because there is so much top quality info already out there. I was tempted to list a bunch of resources here and if you really want to know just drop a comment and I will go into depth about this later. The point I’m trying to make today is that this first step of ‘getting it’ is not the hard part. The next step in my opinion is the tricky one.

Step 2. Make the Leap.


This one is the hardest part, and I believe that you can get so lost in step 1 that this step will never happen or you delay it for much longer than needed. Which backpack should I get, the ipad or notebook decision, what about the house, the car and all this stuff you need to do before you can go.
The best trick I can offer straight away to deal with this is quite simple,
Buy The Ticket!
Get that plane ticket with a date of flying 3 to 6 months in the future. The date is now set, and you will be forced to do what you need to do, tie up loose ends, put things into storage, sort out your gear, tell the boss to shove it and all the things you need to do before you jump on the plane and go.

Step 3. Master It As You Go.


This is the easy part because you’re actually doing it now, things will just naturally fall into place. Of course there will be a few bumps along the way and your Tech Nomad Lifestyle will go wrong sometimes, but that is part of the fun. As the saying goes, “It’s not about the destination it is about the journey”.
You will meet so many people as you travel that are totally on your wave length. Another thing I have noticed that when you do meet fellow travellers, conversations never start without any awkward silences whilst you ‘get to know each other’. Simply because you are both already on your own personal nomad missions it’s as if you already know each other.
I am a total evangelist for this lifestyle and not only recommend it to everyone who wants to taste extraordinary freedom but I also believe that 2o years from now a massive percentage of the human race will be living this way anyway. So why not do it now ?

Jobs are dead! Long live the Unemployable Lifestyle.

So where are you up to ? Stuck on step one ? Half way through step two ? Rocking it in step three ?
Been blogging about it but ain’t made the leap yet to actually fully do it ?
Or maybe you think that all this Tech Nomad, Lifestyle Design talk is a load of crap and you are totally content with sitting there dribbling in front of you TV with your subscription to 346 channels of ‘entertainment’. Hmm ?
But seriously, if this is your sort of thing let me know in the comments below.
posted by admin in Adventure,Lifestyle Design and have View Comments

Quiet by Day – Crazy by Night. White Beach, Mindoro Island.

This beautiful tropical island in the Philippines, has been mini paradise location for nearly one week now. White Beach, Puerto Galera , Oriental Mindoro Island, Philippines.

A tourist brochure would say,

Experience fantastic sunsets, engaging nightlife, and warm, hospitable people!

Here’s my version….

Watch how it all goes wierd at about 1 min 30 sec  in.

Enjoy…

Can’t see the video ? Click here to view on Youtube

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Which Video Do you Like Best ? Frog Ladies and Ping-Pong Tuk-Tuks.

Fake Dreadlocks, Frog Ladies and Ping-Pong Tuk-Tuks. Welcome To Khaosan Road, Bangkok.  A Fantastic place to view traditional Thailand backpacking at it’s best. Did that sound a bit sarcastic ?

Anyway, on with the show.

I really do enjoy playing around with different editing tecninques, and I have dropped todays lesson on Thailand Travel into two different styled videos.

I’d really like your opinion on which style of editing is better and why . . . and it would mean a lot to me if you’d leave a comment below letting me know which of these videos sucks the least.

Khaosan Road Tuk-Tuk Ping-Pong ?

Khaosan Road Frog Lady Advice

I’m intrigued to know which of these two video you think is better and why, let me know in the comments below. It will just take a second and I’d truly appreciate it.

posted by admin in Adventure,Travelling and have View Comments

7 Extraordinary Once in a Lifetime Experiences whilst Traveling the World

Back in late 2002 I set of on a journey of a lifetime to travel around the world, thinking if I can make it a whole one year I would be more than satisfied. Once my mind had been opened to how vast the world is and many amazing experiences are out there to be had, I was hooked. Nearly 10 years later I am still traveling and loving every day of it. Here are just a very small hand full of some of the fantastic experiences I have had since I first set off on that round the world adventure back in 2002.

One in Thirty Chance of being Shot at in a Helicopter over the Burmese Border.

It started with a late night out in the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I was drinking with a few Thai friends in this bar and got chatting to this Thai guy. We really got on well and drank for hours, when the end of the night came he revealed to me that he was a helicopter pilot for the Thai army and asked if I would like to come with him the next day to fly over to Burma. He asked where I was staying and said he would pick me up in the morning. He had to go because as he said, he has to get some sleep and sober up because he has to fly his helicopter in the morning. I said, “ yeah, yeah, yeah” not believing anything he was telling me, said goodnight and thought that was that.

Then 10 am the next morning he is banging on my door. I could not do it, I was too hung over, I had to say no. We rearranged and did do it the next day.

Wow, so he was like the Captain super duper boy at the local army base and I was his VIP guest. We flew over the River Kwai, across the mountains and jungles of Kanchanaburi, heading west towards Burma where they had to drop of supplies for the Thai army guys who man the border. It was like a valley which was the actual border with sand bags and a machine gun on either side. A little Thai camp on this side and a little Burmese army camp on the other side.

It was only after we had been there and I was asking them if they ever actually start shooting at each other. They told me, in a relaxed way, “Not really, but about once a month as we are landing they sometimes shoot at the helicopter”.  Seriously, I would have died from shock instantly if I had heard the pinging of bullets hitting this helicopter. Everything went fine and when we got back to the base in Kanchanaburi town, the whiskey and beers came out and it went on from there. Man, these fellas could drink.

Living and Training with Genuine Shaolin Kung Fu Monks at Wu Wei Temple, China

Temple PavilionsWhist I was in Dali in northwestern Yunnan Province, China in early 2003 I was lucky enough to become on of the first few foreigners to stay at this amazing Wu Wei Si ancient Shaolin Kung Fu Temple way up (7700ft) in the mountains of Cangshan.

I was only there for a week, but still an amazing experience. I had to live as they did. Right down to the vegan diet, which I wasn’t looking forward to but actually really enjoyed. One of the monks there had been doing these strict 8 hours a day training for 40 years. He was over 50 years old (looked about 25) and was a little guy, but you should have seen him move. He was somersaulting ,flipping and flying through the air with precision that would make your jaw drop. The way of living was also quite interesting and refreshing, with no electric and water from a mountain stream, the usual day would start about 4am and lights out and bed by 9pm.

Whilst there I learned a handful of ninja tricks and got really flexible, but I have to be honest and admit that I was glad to get out of there by the end as I felt the training over days turned to torture. We were pushed to our limits and well beyond, I was also desperate to eat some meat.

Once I got out of there I indulged in oven baked pizzas and yak meat goulash (the local delicacy-very tasty) in the main Dali town, which is an amazing place with fantastic little restaurants and cafes surrounded by some of the oldest Tang Dynasty (10th century) standing structures in southern China.

My International Traveling Movie Star Career

I have had background parts as an movie extra in 3 totally different movies whilst on my world travels so far. A Chinese Ghost Movie, A World War II movie and a Thai historical movie.

The Chinese Ghost movie was being filmed using the Shaolin Temple in Dali as a Background. They got us to where the black cloaks a run around in this forest at night. It was really interesting to watch the special effects of this movie. There were these guys running around burning some special leaves in metal cans and wafting a big board to fan the smoke into the scene. Another thing that was awesome to see was how they were using these spring boards where the actors would bounce into the air doing all sorts of tricks.

I was a Prisoner of War in a Thai movie where I was a slave working on the famous Death railway. Even more fun because I had a scene where I was shot in the chest, wearing an exploding blood pack under my shirt I had to die and fall off the railway into a pile of boxes. Being a stuntman for the day is so, so cool in my book.

Later that day I almost fainted on set because we were standing in the blazing sun most of the day and the movie team looking after us were spraying with ice cold water feeding us free beers all day. Sounds great, but the perfect recipe for sun stoke. Messy

In the Thai movie The Legend of King Naresuan I played 4 different Portuguese soldiers on different occasions. I worked on this movie loads of times and it sounds like fun (which it was), but it is actually really hard work. Starts 6am, Make up, big false beards, wearing heavy full body loads and saddled up with swords, guns and spears.

There is a lot of waiting round. Some days they would only use me for 10 mins, some days were harder.

Full action scenes involved running around in the sun dodging horses, elephants and pyrotechnic

explosions. This was the biggest budget Thai movie to date at the time and it was enormous in scale. They had taken over this huge Army Base and built full traditional bamboo hut villages, temples and massive battle fields. With hundreds of extras running around everywhere, I saw quite a few accidents because the safety procedures were maybe not to same level as Hollywood productions.

I heard a story that apparently after filming for 2 years most of the footage got lost or stolen and they had to film most of the film again. Filming went on for another couple of years, and I seemed to keep getting called back several times over the years.

Wearing a Police Mans Uniform in Cambodia

This one is a bit weird. I became friendly with a Cambodia guy who insisted that I came to visit his home village. It was far away deep in the farming communities along the Cambodia border. I was officially the very first foreigner to ever visit this tiny village. I was blown away at how much they welcomed me, every house in the village was almost fighting over having me come to eat at their home. They put on parties where the whole village came out to enjoy. It was amazing, but when it got weird was when the local village police man who was really drunk at the time started getting really insistent with me that I try on his police shirt. Next thing I knew he had stripped down to his underwear and had sort of forced me to wear his whole uniform. I remember thinking this is just odd as I am standing there in full police uniform and the policeman is standing there in his boxers.

Built an Indian Restaurant from Scratch in Thailand

Time for some slow traveling. The story of how I came to do this was back in 2006 I had been traveling round Southeast Asia for a few years and had enough money left to do about another year of traveling. I came up with the idea that instead of traveling for another year I could basically gamble my money setting up a business in Thailand that if successful would not necessarily make me rich but more provide me with free food and accommodation and a base 5 years. At the time I was partying and drinking too much and needed to get into something to keep myself busy and change my pattern. I did months of research and considered loads of different possibilities. I finally chose that I was going to open a high end restaurant in Kanchanaburi and I had boiled it down to either Italian, Mexican or Indian. I went for Indian and headed off to Malaysia to learn everything thing I needed to know about setting up an Indian restaurant from scratch.

It took six months to develop everything and I will never forget that first day opening, because I had done what I always say not to do, ‘Never put all you eggs in one basket’.

So with fingers and toes crossed the doors opened and I was in the situation where if this fails I’m in big trouble. Luckily the gamble paid off and the restaurant was an instant success. Some of the rave reviews we had were very good and word off mouth brought us more an more customers. After about a year assisting in getting it going I was able to step back and let it run by itself, (well actually my Thai missus was running it all, managing several staff and chefs from Nepal and Bangladesh).

I was now able to step back and focus on my next plan, figuring out internet marketing and learning about building an online business. I knew that the internet was definitely where I wanted to do future businesses because of the freedom of being able to operate the business from anywhere in the world. This was before the word location independent business even really existed.

The Indian restaurant business was fantastic for about 3 years then in the last 2 years it profits slowly fell as world economic problems and Thai political protests lowered tourism by about 70%. It had turned into a situation where the business was really struggling to exist let alone make a profit. The problem with this business was that it relied on a steady flow of tourists.

In May 2010 I had to bravely put a bullet in the head of this business and eliminate it. I could have saved it but chose to kill it so as to free up more of my time so I can concentrate fully on my online businesses.

Spear Fishing at Night in the Cook islands

One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook IslandsThis is one of those mind blowing experiences that I will never forget. Whilst staying in the Cook Islands for a month I became friendly with the family who’s guest house I was staying at. One of the sons who I became very good friends with started taking me out night fishing with him. We have these home made spear/catapults with underwater torches, snorkel, mask, flippers. We would walk out to sea and float on the surface looking for fish down in the corals. The fish are asleep and not moving so you are supposed to sneak up and pull back the spear and fire. We would collect many different beautiful looking fish and take them back to his home and store on ice. We went out doing this a few times over a week then on Saturday night I would help them prepare the pit barbecue. There is something that makes seafood seem to taste even better when you have caught it your self and share with friends.

This place was truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

Designed and Built a Fully Articulated Puppet Creature

I built a mini workshop/studio to the rear of my Indian Restaurant and took on this dream project of mine. In my early twenties I worked for several years as a freelance puppet builder, mainly working on small stop-motion puppets for animated productions such as Wind in the Willows and Noddy just to name a few. I had always wanted to build a full body high tech cable controlled creature puppet similar in construction to the original Yoda puppet used in Star Wars-The Empire Strikes Back.

So I did it, a massive project to take on, chipping away at it for a few hours each day for about 14 months, I went through the whole process from design on paper, sculpting, mold making, casting latex skins, building articulated skeleton, building mechanisms and controls.

I did all this using some basic tools that I got in Thailand and also basic materials; from resins from car repair shops to bicycle brake cables from bicycle shops. I found liquid latex many other materials from  hardware shops and artist/craft shops. Sourcing the materials was part of the challenge.

For some parts I had to find a local Thai guy to help me, like the levers controls where designed by me but made in a motorbike repair shop where they had all the equipment to do metal welding. These Thai guys and some of the Thai locals who new what I was up to thought it was fascinating. Because it must seem to Thais that the stereotypical farang (foreigner) staying here are mostly just largeing it up on the piss.

I also videoed most of the design and building process and someday maybe would like to deal with the monstrous task of editing these tens of hours of footage.

There were plans that this creature was destined present a youtube video games review show, but for several reasons it didn’t get further than test shots. You can see more about this project at AtomicNinjaMonkey.com

One thing I can certainly say about this project is that I think I can honestly claim that I am the only Farang (forigner) ever to have done this (Creature Construction) in Thailand.

Hope you enjoyed that, and if you did, show me a bit of love by commenting below, and If you wanna do me a super favor and share this on Twitter or Facebook, It will just take a second and I’d truly appreciate it.

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Seven Step Waterfall. Kanchanaburi. Thailand.

Welcome to Erawan Waterfalls in the north of  Kanchanaburi province, Thailand. This seven tiered waterfall is especially awesome to visit at this time of year, due to being in the middle of Thailand’s rainy season.  Although it only rains for an hour or two each evening, that is enough to make the waterfalls more powerful and impressive.

With Mountains, jungle surroundings it is quite a good mini adventure.

Anyway, check out this funky video below of my journey through the seven steps of this waterfall to the top.

Knackered = Tired.

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Good Morning Cambodia Border. Casinos, Frogs and Queues

Crossing the border from Cambodia into Thailand and you get to see right here the madness of this notorious border crossing. I have to get from the Cambodian border town Poiet, passing through the immigrations into Thailand. This is defiantly one of the craziest border crossings of Thailand. Not the most fun to have to go through, but certainly interesting. See the video below where I cross this border and of course these things always turn out predictably unpredictable.

And check out the question below the video.

So here is a question I pose to you, these kids begging outside the Casino’s and around the border, should you give them money ?   Let me know what you think in the comments below

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